Are you familiar with the glorified pressure cooker, the Instant Pot? My wife often uses it to cook vegetables, other side dishes, and even the main meal. On it is a valve because when your food is ready, you turn it to release the pressure before you open the lid to get your food.

Because what would happen if you were NOT to do that and proceeded to remove the lid?

The pressure built inside the Instant Pot would have to go somewhere, and that somewhere is all over your kitchen.

Note: It’s not an instant pot. I just wanted you to get an idea.

With a quick look at YouTube, pressure cookers will explode by themselves sometimes, but they will explode 100% of the time IF you don’t release them. Such a simple thing to do to avoid kitchen chaos and mayhem. But what has this got to do with exercise?

Don’t worry; I’m about to get on track.

Under Pressure

Here’s the Merriam-Webster definition of being under pressure.

“ In a state of stress or anxiety because of having too much to do. : being made to feel forced to do something (as by arguments, threats, etc.).”

There is internal pressure you put on yourself and external pressure from outside sources, and both will happen simultaneously. For instance, I feel internal pressure to keep my writing output around four weekly articles.

I don’t have any deadlines, just my expectation of production. When my wife wants something done, and she wants it done yesterday and gives me the death stare, that’s external pressure. Then this manifests itself into internal pressure because I want to get it done.

Anyhow, the wonders of marriage.

But this happens whether we like it or not or whether we want it or not. Not all pressure is terrible as a pressure cooker making delicious food; a certain amount helps you get things done or rise to the occasion.

Now here is when I go for the cliché to ram it home. It takes pressure to make diamonds. And thank God because if it wasn’t for that, I don’t know what I would’ve put on my wife’s finger.

Pressure is good and bad, but like the Instant Pot, it will build up if it has nowhere to go.

Pressure Release

It’s safe to say you hold a certain amount of anxiety and stress internally. It’s great to talk it out and get it off your chest. But sometimes, you let it fester and bounce around because you don’t want to trouble your loved ones and friends with your inner thoughts.

This also creates excess stress, which builds up, too, and when you don’t ‘release it,’ it may make you do or say things you regret. Like an Instant Pot blowing its lid, it sprays out randomly, and you make a mess.

I’ve been there more times than I care to remember, and I wish I could take it back each time, but I can’t. Once it’s out, you cannot put it back in, and all you can do is apologize and hope the ones you hurt accept it.

But, like a valve on a pressure cooker, what if you could release some of this pressure to avoid making a mess? Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to exercise. Now, love it or hate it, exercise is a great stress reliever and an excellent way to release pressure.

Having other valves is excellent too.

Whether hanging out with friends or other healthy self-care activities like getting a massage, going to the beauty salon, going on holidays, or screaming your lungs out at a sporting event. These (IMO) are all healthy ways to relieve stress.

Let’s not get into unhealthy habits to release it; although fun, they are not sustainable, and there is a price to be paid. You may think you’re okay and can handle it, but like a pressure cooker left on too long, it can be only a matter of time before the boom.  

Wrapping Up

Pressure, you feel it, you feel it, and there is no avoiding it. Good things come from it, and not-so-good things happen when it becomes too much. You and I have to balance this daily. A release valve, like exercise, helps lessen the boom to keep you healthy and productive.

Go ahead and release some steam.


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